Rambutan is British-Sri Lankan cook Cynthia Shanmugalingam’s debut restaurant, and she couldn't have chosen a more foodie location slap bang in the middle of London’s Borough Market. Although Cynthia was born in Coventry, the restaurant takes inspiration from her time spent exploring Sri Lanka with a focus on regional dishes traditionally found in the north of the country.
The 60-cover restaurant spans two floors and offers a bright and warming space to dine, taking inspiration from the modern, post-colonial style of Minnette de Silva (Sri Lanka’s most famous female architect). A number of one-of-a-kind pieces have been created for the restaurant, including geometric textiles, prints, sustainable Ceylon teak chairs and hand painted tiles, while natural clay and concrete materials provide a relaxing backdrop to the colourful decorations.
Downstairs, diners can perch at the eight-seater bar for pre or post dinner drinks, with a menu of island-inspired cocktails made with tropical ingredients including lemongrass, pandan leaf and iced Ceylon tea. A selection of beers from South London brewers are also available as well as a weekly changing line up of natural and biodynamic wines.
Rambutan makes use of the local, fresh produce that’s readily available from neighbouring suppliers in the market. Daily-changing menus feature a range of street food snacks that are commonly eaten on-the-go in the northern cultural capital Jaffna, things like aged mutton rolls, spice fish malu buns and a traditional type of bun filled with curried potato and fish. Fresh vegetable dishes include daikon and mint sambol, carrot and lime kosambari salad and aubergine pahi, while large plates include grilled lamb chops, Jaffna crab fried rice and grilled mackerel with turmeric and tamarind.
Alongside its signature plates, guests can tuck into plenty of authentic curries, such as a cashew nut curry, pickled pork curry and red beef and bone marrow curry, as well as classic hoppers, dosas and rotis.